What’s Wrong with Us?

What’s Wrong with Us?
By: Aldous I J Echegoyen

This is an article I submitted on June 22, 2006 at Sun Star Newspaper, Cebu. Click http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/ceb/2006/06/22/oped/aldous.i.j..echegoyen.church.minister.mactan.church.of.christ.html to check the edited article.

I have just arrived from Singapore after a 10 day mission work there. It was a very tiring trip since we have to go to Angeles City to take the budget plane from Clark to Singapore. I really missed my country after a short period of time and even told my co-minister that I can kiss the Philippine land when I get off the plane.

As we disembark the plane, guess what I heard from other Filipinos who was also getting off: “Mag-ingat kayo sa mga gamit nyo, Pilipinas na ‘to” [“Watch out for your things, we are already in the Philippines”]. It was neither a very nice thing to hear nor a very nice thing to say about your own country, but then again, I thought, can I blame them?

We were already waiting in line to go through immigration and guess what I saw…an evidence of a Filipino. Filipinos who just can’t wait to go through immigration, ignoring the yellow line where we are supposed to wait for our turn – – in spite of a signboard saying: Please wait by the yellow line.

After immigration is the customs. A woman before me was upset about the custom charging her Php 850.00 tax for the Play station she bought in Singapore. “I don’t have enough money anymore to go back to Cebu”, she said. Guess what custom personnel said to her? “Well, how much are you willing to pay?” And that’s not the shocking part. Custom personnel said, “If you want, let’s not make a receipt of your payment so you can pay less, ok?” Welcome back to the Philippines!!

Well, I’ve heard about the 1-billion budgets against graft and corruption ordered by our President. I believe Filipinos are very skeptical and very worried about this already. Can you blame them? This is the Philippines, isn’t it?

I don’t want to believe that the Philippines is going to the dogs. I don’t believe that the Philippines can not regain its dignity and face to the world. But there is just something lacking in us that even how much we struggle we always end up at the bottom of the world’s economy. In my opinion we lack discipline and will power. When I say “we” I mean the government and the Filipino people (that includes myself).

The other day, I was buying roasted chicken in the market place of Lapu-Lapu city and guess what I saw: young people sniffing rugby in front of me! What’s so ironic about this is that the Police station was just a few meters away from them. Well, this is the Philippines, isn’t it?

What’s wrong with the Philippines? The government? The president? The system? My opinion is that it’s the Filipinos. We always blame the government for our mischief while the government blames each other. There must be something we can do as individuals and stop this bickering and power struggle.

Maybe we can start with ourselves. If we change the way we think against our government and learn to trust them then maybe they will begin to be trustworthy. If we change the way we think about our country and start being responsible and disciplined, maybe in time, maybe not in our generation, the Philippines will be a better place because we started something different within ourselves.

I don’t really know how the Philippines can grow economically or how our government can change. But I too want to see a better Philippines in the future. Maybe if I start doing right today, I can influence others to do what is legal and right.

This is also my country and I love my Philippines! Many people have died for this country and I will not let them die in vain. Mabuhay and Pilipinas!

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